Fundamentals For A Dedicated Attribution Practice
January 29, 2018 -
We’ve made it to the fourth installment of Napkyn’s Attribution Blog Series. If you haven’t subscribed already subscribe to receive updates on this series here or through the banner at the top of this post. We’ve gone over the benefits of attribution and how your organization can prepare for attribution (click here for a refresher). If you’re just joining us, Napkyn is taking our strength at marketing analysis in Google Analytics to the next level with the creation of a comprehensive attribution practice and we want to welcome you along for the ride.
I am Napkyn’s Program Manager for Marketing Analytics & their Sr. Practice Lead for Attribution. Before joining Napkyn, I worked for Adometry and Google as a Senior Analytical Lead on the Google Attribution offering and have over a decade of experience in the planning and execution of digital media. We’re developing this practice because of the industry shift toward using attribution as the gold standard for digital marketing performance measurement. Attribution provides improved accuracy to make more informed marketing decisions. The practice benefits your business by creating one data repository, allowing for the visibility to create cleaner data, ensuring you’re comparing differing marketing against the same goals, providing the tools to do all of your own measurement, and performing advanced analysis for key insights and budget optimization. In order to best prepare for attribution, you should focus on organizational readiness, data quality, product requirements, and our battle-tested best practices. With those topics covered, we can now walk through what it takes to build a dedicated internal practice to help win with this high-value analysis.
Disclaimer: I have strong points of view on many of these topics as I’ve had a lot of experience watching companies succeed and fail in this endeavor during my time at Adometry and Google. I offer my experience for your education, but feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
Key Considerations for Creating an Attribution Practice
I have found that organizations with an internal attribution practice have far more successful attribution programs than those who do not. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, there are many businesses that attempt attribution without much thought as to how to support the program. Don’t be like them. Allow me to walk you through the WHY and then we will get into the HOW.
Bandwidth & Time Management
Properly allocating the hours necessary for standing up, maintaining, and utilizing your attribution tool is vital to the success of those projects. There is some heavy lifting involved, especially in the initial set up, and forcing your team to split their time over too many projects will result in unnecessary strain to personnel and lengthens the road to each project’s completion. There is also an ongoing component of attribution – it is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool, but an iterative practice. Allowing team members to focus on attribution as part of their main remit ensures that the program gets the attention required for a positive outcome.
Dedication to the Project
Aligning the goals of the team with the success of the attribution projects reduces the possibility of conflicting initiatives. Creating a dedicated team allows team members to take ownership of the program and align their individual career goals with its success.
Data Quality & Relevance
Your organization’s ability to produce quality data that fits your business’s needs is directly tied to having a group of people who are focused on this effort. When your marketing, analytics, and database engineering departments aren’t talking regularly about the data that needs to flow into your attribution tool, there is little chance (read into this as “no chance in hell”) that your data will be accurate for this purpose or relevant to what you plan to do with the attribution reporting. And make no mistake, the quality and relevance of the data your organization is feeding into the attribution tool has EVERYTHING to do with the usability of your attribution reports. End rant.
How to Set One Up
If you’re sufficiently convinced that your organization needs an attribution practice to be successful in attribution, let’s move on to how to set one up properly.
Strategic Business Alignment
Attribution is not simply a technology initiative. It is a strategic up-leveling of your business’s ability to measure marketing performance. The business goals and measurement practices of your company should reflect this. Attribution should be your new source of measurement truth for all included marketing. Period.
Attribution Team, Not Attribution Person
This is a large undertaking that has too many moving parts and necessary areas of expertise to be placed on the shoulders of one team member. That is not to say that there shouldn’t be a day-to-day project lead, but they need a support team.
The ideal attribution team should be comprised of the following. If necessary, one team member may take on more than one role, bandwidth permitting.
|Required Investment||Main Resource||Support Resource|
|Executive Stakeholder||CMO||SVP of Marketing|
|Implementation Support||Project ManagerTechnical ResourceData Stakeholder||Ad Ops
|Maintenance Resources||Project Manager
|Data Change Management||Strategy Lead
|Media Activation||Director of Marketing
Momentum & Timeliness
In order for your attribution practice to achieve your initiatives in a timely manner, there has to be organizational momentum behind the project. Your team will need the resources to make reliable progress on their own and the timely collaboration of internal departments when asks come up. This is where the Executive Stakeholder will come in handy.
The team will be able to attain that momentum and timeliness if there is organizational support around the attribution project. This means that there must be invested parties across departments and throughout the hierarchy. Support is easier to achieve when that strategic business alignment I mentioned is present.
There must be a strict data governance practice in place to ensure the data quality and relevance, detailed above, is up to par for attribution. There should be team members dedicated to this effort. In upcoming blogs, I will deep-dive into data quality to provide more specifics.
Performance Goals Aligned with the Success of the Program
It is my recommendation that the individuals involved in the attribution practice have their performance goals tied to its success. This will go a long way in establishing the commitment necessary to see the projects through to completion. However, it is key that the organization support and momentum is either present or that these individuals have the ability to create them.
Iterate & Grow
I have written it before and I will likely write it again: attribution is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. It is an ongoing practice to perform marketing analytics. The setup and data will need to grow in sophistication with your organization’s marketing and analysis abilities. Your team is embarking on a new way to analyze your marketing efforts. Subsequent posts will detail the Napkyn view on the iterative nature of attribution.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Now that you’re brought up to speed on why your organization should be moving toward this more advanced performance measurement and ready to commit the right resources, you should be prepared to assess your organization’s operational readiness for attribution. How READY are you really? Our next blog post will share a detailed scorecard we’ve built around attribution readiness – and the steps on how to fill it out to truly understand the readiness of your organization . You will be able to take this tool and use it internally to determine your next steps for attribution. If you haven’t subscribed already subscribe to receive updates on this series here or through the banner at the top of this post.